Today is World Diabetes Day. We don’t party with funny hats and beer with limes in them, or funny hats and green beer, or funny hats and…O.K., so we may party today with funny hats. (In fact, I’m headed to the Diabetes Mine Innovation Summit in Palo Alto, CA right now. There will be some well-deserved celebration with other people with diabetes tonight.) But diabetes is no party.
I’m going to give you some numbers, because numbers are solid and tangible and can be referenced to something. (Feelings and opinions make for lousy quadratic equations.)
- There are more than 371 million people in the world with diabetes.
- My blood glucose has been as low as 28 and as high as 778. (Got a thing for numbers ending in 8, my body.)
- 79 million people in the United States have “pre-diabetes”, meaning they are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes without making lifestyle changes.
- In 2012, the direct medical cost in the U.S. for diabetes was $176 billion. (Yes, with a B. Billion.)
- I’ve checked my blood sugar approximately 44,530 times.
- Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
- A single vial of Humalog insulin is $148 without insurance at my local pharmacy.
- People with diabetes spend an average of $13,700 per year on medical expenses; about $7,900 of that is attributed directly to diabetes care.
- The risk for stroke and heart disease is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.
- There are more than 3 million Americans with Type 1 diabetes – 85% of them are adults.
- Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.
- 4.8 million deaths in 2012 (the last time global mortality data was compiled) were caused by diabetes.
- 80 people each day are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in the United States.
- Those with type 1 diabetes are living around 11 to 14 years less, on average, at the age of 20 to 24 years than those in the general population; this figure drops to 5 to 7 years less at age 65 to 69.
- I’m 43.
What’s the point of World Diabetes Day?
The World Diabetes Day campaign is led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and its member associations. It engages millions of people worldwide in diabetes advocacy and awareness. World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes now poses. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2007 with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public spotlight.
Why today? It’s the birthday of Frederick Banting who came up with the idea leading to the discovery of insulin in 1922. So, because of him (and Charles Best), I’m alive today.
And that’s a good enough reason to put on a funny hat and celebrate.
(Thanks to IDF, the U.S. Government, ADA, and JDRF for these statistics.)